Video Game Names: Will any of them catch on?
Fictional characters have inspired baby names for centuries. Samuel Richardson‘s novel popularized “Pamela” in the 1700s. The movie “Splash” gave us the name Madison for girls. TV characters inspired real baby Bretts (from “Maverick”) and Chandlers (from “Friends”). So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that video games now are a source for baby names.
Of course, game creators must come up with character names first. Mario, one of the most popular game characters, was called “Jumpman” in the original Japanese version of “Donkey Kong.” When Nintendo brought its games to the United States around 1982, Jumpman was going to be called “Mr. Video” in the American version. After Minoru Kawabata, president of Nintendo America, had a heated argument over warehouse rent with landlord Mario Segale, “Mr. Video” became “Mario.” Nintendo executive Shigeru Miyamoto says, “If he had been called ‘Mr. Video,’ he might have disappeared off the face of the earth.”
Video games haven’t yet had a huge impact on real baby names. Many characters have names that are too common to appeal to young parents, like Chris, Jill, and Rebecca from the hit “Resident Evil” series. Players think many fantasy names like Guybrush Threepwood from “Monkey Island” are cool, but too far-out to give a child. “Final Fantasy XIII” probably won’t inspire many namesakes. Its main characters include Lightning, Oerba Dia Vanille, Sazh Katzroy and a boy named Hope. Americans will see these as too odd to be the perfect “different but not too different” baby name.
A few game names are turning up on birth certificates. Many players I’ve consulted like Kain, from “Legends of Kain.” Thirteen Kains have been born in Nebraska since 2005. Rinoa, a Japanese version of “Lenore” created for Rinoa Heartilly in “Final Fantasy VIII,” has turned up on a few American girls. Kairi, Japanese for “ocean,” is now an American girls’ name because of a character in “Kingdom Hearts.” Five Kairis have been born in Nebraska since 2004.
Raiden is the name with the biggest potential. The name of an ancient Japanese god of thunder and lightning, it’s used for a main character in “Mortal Kombat.” Since Raiden rhymes with the hugely popular Aiden and Caden, it’s a perfect “different but not too different” choice. In 2008, Raiden was already the 780th most popular name for American boys (note: it rose to 670 in 2009). In another decade it may be the first video game name to make the top 100.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on May 18th, 2010 at 1:50 am
Now this is a blog that I can really relate to! Unlike me, my husband is not obsessed with a name unless it is from a video game that he is also obsessed with.
When we were expecting our daughter, he could not let go of the name Kairi. He loves Kairi from Kingdom Hearts and loves the name. I finally told him that he flat out could not have it, but that I would also give up my number one pick. We settled on Lilianna.
However, he still obsesses over this name. As the name nerd that I am, I am always throwing names at him. He once told me, that the only names he really likes for a girl are Kairi and a few other video game names. He has bent a little and decided he likes Gemma. Not my very favorite, but if we have another girl someday it could be a good compromise.
As for boys, he does not obsess over one or two particular names like he does with girl’s names. However, he still seems to only like it if it’s from a video game. His first favorite… Destin, from Ogre Battle 64. Any time he mentions a name, he includes what game they are from.
We have actually agreed on a boy’s name should we ever have use of one… Alistair. I have secretly loved this name for a while, but I never mentioned it to my husband because I assumed he would hate it. About two weeks ago I finally asked him what he thought of that name. His response? He loved it! Told me what video game Alistair was in and everything! (I don’t remember which right now, but you get the point).
So, apparently, if your partner is obsessed with video games, find out if any of your favorite names are in a video game!
on May 18th, 2010 at 6:48 am
Interesting! I have met a little girl named Rinoa but never knew it originated with a video game.
on May 18th, 2010 at 12:34 pm
Very interesting post. I have always thought that Raiden would definitely catch on. I have already met a Rinoa, and Kairi is easily open to popularity due to her similar sound with the familiar Kylie and Carrie.
on May 18th, 2010 at 12:37 pm
There are some fabulous video game names out there not mentioned here.
And lots lots more, I’m sure. There are great “different but not too different” names to be found in the video game realm.
on May 18th, 2010 at 12:45 pm
You know, a lot of those names are from Mass Effect, a sci fi game. There are a TON of very cool science fiction names out there. If you guys ever want someone to do a guest blog on that, I’d be happy to help. 😉
Charlotte Vera Said
on May 18th, 2010 at 1:37 pm
My husband was pushing for Celes (Final Fantasy VI) when we were expecting our daughter. We compromised on Celeste but then decided that the name was much too similar to our boy’s name of choice.
on May 18th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
I’ve seen science fiction names occasionally in birth announcements. Anakin has been used several times in recent years. Also Arwen, Elektra, Lestat, etc. I haven’t seen Raiden or Rinoa yet but I don’t know that I’d recognize them as video game names.
on May 19th, 2010 at 1:03 am
My niece’s name is Ayane, after one of the characters in the Dead or Alive games
on May 19th, 2010 at 10:51 am
Yeah, I’ve been wondering where the Raiden-love is. I mean, it’s two syllables, it’s -aiden, it picks up the ultramasculinity trend with its meaning of thunder….I predict it’ll go up even more.
Don’t forget Sora (boy’s name) from Final Fantasy VII.
My oldest’s nickname (Chief) comes from HALO…but that’s still a step up from my oldest daughter’s nickname: Buffy.
on May 19th, 2010 at 10:53 am
Raiden is pretty bad-ass. I know a female Remy, but I don’t know the reason behind the name. I love Dante but it skews African-American and I can’t get my partner on board.
One video game name I can’t see coming back for like 2 more generations… Luigi!
My Kindle » Ebooks | Ebook Reader Said
on May 19th, 2010 at 4:06 pm
[…] VIDEO GAME NAMES: WіƖƖ аחу οf tһеm catch οח? R… […]
on May 19th, 2010 at 4:53 pm
I don’t know if this is mentioned above, but I personally think that Peach (Princess Peach) is kind of cute. And Zelda’s pretty, too!
on May 19th, 2010 at 5:35 pm
Not to mention “Zelda” could be shortened to the highly euphonious Zelle.
on July 26th, 2010 at 1:41 am
my daughters name is brenna rayne after blood rayne. Lol
on August 13th, 2010 at 4:14 am
there are actually quite a few names in the final fantasy games… there are over 13 of them afterall:
Quistis, Cloud, Squall, Selphie, Aerith, Zachary, Tessa, Ashe (short for Ashelia), Vaan, Balthier, Fran, Penelo, Rikku, Paine, Yuna, Basch, Lulu, Auron, Tidus, Lenne, Cissnei (sis-nay), Tifa, Angeal, Zidane, Seymour, Quina, Lamont, Ayde, Lian, Marnela, Vidina, Dona, Elma, Lucil (lu-cielle), Remedi, Leon, Raem, Edea, Irvine, Edgar,
Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2:
Sora, Riku, Kairi, Roxas, Axel
Inking Stamp Said
on December 3rd, 2010 at 1:14 pm
when it comes to video games, i enjoy playing those that have very nice graphics and story like Plantz and Zombies ;:’
on December 19th, 2010 at 8:12 pm
I have always loved video games and it is surprisingly easy to get attached to a name from one as you play them and follow their story. Obviously some are easier on the ear than others but if I was going to use one I would find a name similar (that I liked) and use the video game name as the nickname occasionally such as Cloud into Claude or Claudia, Yuna into Luna, the thing about Final Fantasy names is they often mean something else or sound like something else Yuna (moon), Tidus (tide close to ocean) and these type of names have been around for ages e.g Oceana for a girl, Evie close to Ivy, Hunter meaning strong, Chase fast and brave.
on March 28th, 2011 at 1:20 pm
Since I played Tales of Symphonia,I researched the name Kratos (which means Strength in Greek)and I REALLY want to give this name to my future son (if I ever have one).But my friends laugh at me he will grow up to be a brute like God of War Kratos.Also for the twins I already got names reserved: Dante & Vergil (since I like both Devil May Cry and Divine Comedy)
But where I originate from,names are ‘serious business’ and any unusual ones would be pointed or even laugh at so I’m backing up with giving them 2 names – One regular (but meaningful) and second,unusual.So when they grow up they can use the one they wish.
And I am one geeky woman so I have to find a guy who agrees for that
on November 9th, 2011 at 4:56 am
My husband and I named our son Dante from Devil may cry. My husband played it when we were 16 and I loved watching him play. I thought it was a great game to watch. We got married and we decided if we have a boy his name will be Dante and our Dante was born October 14th 2010. Now my husband thinks all our kids will be video games names. He is pushing hard for Selphie from FF8 but I really don’t want it. Hopefully some time we can compromise.
on June 29th, 2013 at 4:37 pm
I appreciate this article, although I have a correction to make: Raiden is a Japanese name, therefore it will NOT rhyme with Aiden and Caden; it is pronounced like ‘ry-den’ (also you have to kind of roll the r, similar to Spanish).
My source? Years of interest in Japan and years of language study.
That is all.
on October 13th, 2013 at 1:51 pm
My sons name is Dante for video game as well as book
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.